My thanks to the Scribbler and to my friend Judy for their help as always.
I hope you enjoy the story and I wish you all a Merry Christmas -on this my 6th Christmas since joining this site.
"Jenn, the people in apartment 105 said my garden looked great. I told them it was mainly your doing. They said they liked yours and asked us both around for a drink. I think they want to get some of your cuttings."
I smiled at Sheila, "Thanks they are welcome. I’ll ask my Mom, she always has things potted up."
I was starting to get on with some of the other owners- or at least they minded their own business.I had resolved to change, to be a good neighbour, to make friends.
For months I had kept working in the common garden each weekend and in those hot long summer evenings we have in Chicago . It was hard work, no one seemed to have done it for ages- certainly not the lazy fool the supervisor employed as a gardener. I had just about replaced him- and I didn’t charge. People appreciated the tidier grounds, the shrubs I planted, the roses I pruned, the bulbs I was putting in. Even Mom said I had made a difference-for the better. The neighbours stopped muttering about the crazy fat girl with the trash vocabulary, the Southside accent; some were even polite and stopped to talk to me. Yeah I knew they were only after my brawn and the plants I gave them but they were nice to me. And just a few of the owners like Geoff and Margy Willis even began to like me, to invite me to their condos.
I tried so hard too, helping the other owners with gardens, minding their kids in the playground while I was working, just being nice. I tried especially hard with the women, inviting some around for afternoon coffee. I did it properly, I had the place immaculate, not even my aunts could have complained. I baked, -yeah nothing bought in –all my own stuff, scones, tea cake, cookies, I even made some bread And it all started well. Everyone liked what I had cooked, everyone chatted away. Someone saw my books. I’d joined a reading circle. My dark side had told me I was pathetic, trying to remodel myself to be up to Brendon’s standard. Someone picked a book –Oscar Wilde’s short stories’ and looked at me.
"Yes I’ve been reading that, just finished the Nightingale and the Rose, its so beautiful."
Michelle Riley started on about Wilde’s style his grammar, and the symbolism of the story. I was so out of my depth. And it showed. I didn’t know what to say. She went on about how the rose was a phallic symbol, about the characterization, about – oh about everything that I didn’t know about. I was so upset. I just thought it was a lovely story, it was so sad, it made me cry each time I read it. I loved it. But whenever I read it for months afterwards all I could think of was Michelle being so clever. I almost gave up the reading group. My dark side sneered, "You’re just brawn, not brain. And your brawn is mostly fat."
One weekend in the garden I was trimming the overgrown hedge around the pool enclosure. Riley walked into the enclosure and stretched out on a towel. She just lay there, she wasn’t even reading a book- just lying in her bikini in the sun.
When I was at school we all learned Aesop’s fables- I guess everyone did. I had always thought the ant in the fable of the ant and the grasshopper was a prig, a nasty uncaring thing- the sort, I’d have stamped on. But that day coughing from the dust from the hedge, scratched by prickles and twigs I agreed with the ant. More dust got up my nose. I coughed loudly, Riley looked up. "Good job you’re doing here Jenn, much better than the old gardener, I can see you’re strong, you look as if you were built for that sort of work, but then didn’t I hear you used to do a lot of manual work- weren’t you in a factory."
I was tongue tied. I just nodded. She smiled –another patronising smile. "The gardens here have really come along since you’ve been here. It’s good for us to have someone to do the work round here, we all appreciate what you are doing. At the next owner’s meeting I’m going to suggest that we pay you what we used to pay the gardener for maintaining the condo property. You do such a good job we should reward you.”
I flushed, I wasn’t doing this for money. I didn’t know what to say so I grunted and went on trimming the hedge. She half whispered- yeah using my old trick- "some people so rude, even when youre trying to talk to them."
I snapped back "I’m outa breath Michelle. I’m trying to work, its not easy."
She looked up. "Better you then me hun,"
When I saw that motion on the agenda of the next owners' meeting I was just so angry I didn’t even go. I just told Shelia “there is no way I’ll take the money, Give it to the dogs home instead.”
I don’t know what happened at the meeting but a few days later Sheila stopped by. “You’ve upset Michelle, she was really trying to be nice when she proposed that motion that you get paid the gardener’s fee. She knows- we all know- how much young people have to struggle when they first start paying off a loan. She thought the money would come in handy.”
“She’s bloody patronising. I can stand on my own feet.”
“Yes but Jenn you could do with a few more dollars. All of us could. But more than that, Michelle said at the meeting that it was only right that the rest of us pay- we are all benefiting from what you do. She said it wasn’t fair that we should all be freeloaders. And she was right. Now you’ve offended her.”
I just grunted and changed the subject. The inner voice told me I’s stuffed up again, that I’d made an enemy. And it told me that what I regarded as patronising was that awkwardness people have when they are trying to do something for someone who they know is prickly. “And you're as prickly as a pincushion.” I tried to avoid Michelle after that. If I saw her, I’d pretend I hadn’t and walk the other way. If I couldn’t do that, I’d try to say as little as possible to her.
One evening in late fall I’d hurried home from work. Brendon wanted to take me to a concert. I wanted to surprise him with a new outfit Marie had made for me. I wore my pearl necklace.
As I left the condo there was Michelle also all dressed up. She looked at me, I knew she was comparing me with her, I just knew – she was thinking that even in the new outfit I was a fat frump. She had that smirk. "Out on the town?" she said.
"Yes, I’m going to a chamber music concert."
"I didn’t think you liked that music-it’s not the sort you play when you’re home."
"Yeah well I have diverse tastes."
"Wonder why we never hear any chamber music here."
"Unlike some, its quiet.”
"Oh I think I’d hear if you were to play it in the garden. But you only play that pop crap. Oh, I know, its your Brendon who wants to go there and you’re tagging along with him, trying to get a bit of culture, trying to pretend you’re interested in the fine arts, trying to impress your boyfriend"
"She got you there you fool" My dark side seconded her.
I told my dark side that I didn't listen to pop, not then, not even when I was at school. Back in my biker days I listend to hard rock, heavy metal and that sort of stuff. And I told the dark side that it wasn't as if Michelle didn't know the difference. I just knew she was dissing me.
“Don't split hairs, you're only listening to chamber music, you're only reading 'good books'” and oh how it put an infinity of sneer into 'good books' to try to impress Brendon”
Riley miled, she knew she had scored, she went on, "but it won’t work, because you really don’t like the arts, you’re happier listening to pop than chamber music, happier eating hot dogs than hors d'ouvres, happier reading comics than classics. Go and garden, you do that well, you like it, why try and pretend to be something you’re not?”
"Please be quiet" I muttered; my face burning.
. “Make me fat girl” she hissed, standing right in front of me. “You see, that’s your problem – you’re ungrateful, you think anyone who tries to do you a good deed is patronizing you, you’re rude offensive and downright horrible to be around. I cant imagine what came over me to try and help you or to even, be nice to you.”
I so did not want to fight, I wanted to go to the concert. I tried again "Michelle please, I want to go out, please let me." I felt so weak.
"Why should I? Perhaps I might be going to the same concert, to have two chamber music concerts on in the one evening would be too much of a coincidence, and I sure don’t want my enjoyment spoilt by you."
I tried to walk past her as she stood in my way. She blocked me, I tried again, and again she blocked me. I remembered what I had been told about this bitch, how she had an affair with some man, and thrashed his wife, how when her own husband found out she ended up fighting his mother and literally throwing her out of a second storey window. The mother in law- a lady in her early fifties, fit and strong, ended up with some deep cuts, her son had to help her out of a rose bush.
"Please let me past Michelle." And yeah I know that sounds weak, I felt weak too, I just wanted to go to the concert. I pushed past her. She grabbed my arm. I tried to body shove her. She stepped back letting my arm go. I stumbled a little. She still blocked me. I tried to shove her out of my way, putting my hands on her shoulders, and pushing. It didn’t work. She just stepped back. There was plenty of room, the drive way was over a hundred yards long. I tried to grab her round the waist to shove her sideways. Michelle slapped my face. She pushed back, I scrabbled on the smooth cement, losing traction. She had pushed me back further than any distance I had gained.
I really didn’t want to fight, I wanted to go to the concert. I stood for a moment trying to figure out what to do. I tried to run She swung me round, I lost balance. I was in heels –all dressed up.
She shoved and I fell to the cement driveway. I ripped my stockings. My knee bled. A taxi drew up on the street Michelle giggled and walked to the taxi. I felt like crying. I’d missed the L, there was no way I’d get to the concert on time without a cab, I needed to get changed and clean up. And that old hag had bettered me. I told myself I’d have destroyed her in a proper fight. And my dark side was right onto me, "Thought you had given up fighting."
I phoned for a taxi myself. I texted Brendon telling him I’d be late, and I had been hoping to meet him for a coffee before the concert. I was almost in tears.
It took an age to get that cab and it took even longer to get to the concert- right in the middle of the Magic Mile. I was fuming at the traffic. I raced up the stairs to the concert to find it had started. They don’t let people in late- not till the first piece is finished. I had plenty of time to fume. The usher let me in, I found Brendon, I just knew he was angry with me. I muttered an apology he hushed me. i guessed he wanted to listen to the concert. I slid my hand out, I so wanted him to hold it, just to make me feel better. He didn’t. I wasn’t going to take his in mine. Not if he didn’t want to hold me.
I sat back and tried to understand the music. . I sat still, hands in my lap I tried not to think of how Riley had ruined the evening, But of course I did. I stewed. I wasn’t going to spoil the night for Brendon. I wasn’t going to tell him my problems. So at interval, I told him I had fallen and barked my shins. “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to worry." I kissed his nose. "I just needed to patch myself up and get some new stockings. But that made me late." I changed the subject. We went back inside for the second half of the concert.
Brendon insisted on supper afterwards. It was cold, drizzly, we were hurrying when, inevitably, Michelle Riley loomed in front of us. "So you did get to the concert after all."
"Yes." I bit my tongue. I so wanted to say, "no thanks to you" but knew that I’d have to explain much too much to Brendon. I knew he was confused about me fighting. It excited him-.I remembered the time on the boat when we first met. –but it frightened him to see what I was capable of". He’d only seen me fight two other times, once on the beach when his ex trashed me and that time when I beat up that cow who tormented me in the shopping mall. I didn’t want a fight, I wanted to be on my very best behaviour.
"You must have been very late. Did you make Brendon wait for you in the foyer?"
"No I did not." I clenched my fists. I would not let her bait me.
"And did you like the music?" She was sneering.
"Yes thank you Michelle. I did." I was not going to bite at her.
"I thought it would have been too intellectual, too challenging for you. Chamber music is not for everyone. And this programme- a lot of new works, atonal music, is very hard to understand; no melodies. Not like Hayden or Mozart."
"You’re wrong, I liked it." My fingers itched to teach this sneering bitch a lesson.
"You’re lying." My dark side hissed."You didn’t understand the music, you didn’t like it. You only came to ingratiate yourself with Brendon. You’re pathetic, the way you are trying to change yourself to please him. Going to music apprecication class, reading circle."
"I’m learning, I like reading, I have made new friends in the circle." I tried to answer my inner critic.
It changed tack. "You still haven’t fucked Brendon. He is gay, and you’re the sort of fat stupid girl that closet gays hang round with." There was nothing I could say. I hadn’t got him into bed. And I was so scared he was gay.
In the meantime Bendon and Michelle had got into some complicated talk about music. I didn’t understand it. "No, you’re dumb," the dark side reminded me.
"Can we go for supper, please?" I pleaded. Brendon looked at me, I knew he thought I was rude. "Brendon, I’m cold."
Riley looked at me too, her look told me she knew all I wanted was to get Brendon away from her. She locked eyes. She smiled. Yeah she was challenging me. "Brendon, your girlfriend is right. It is cold. We should get going." I’d really fucked up. She was coming too. And there was nothing I could do without sounding totally crass.
She chatted on, totally shutting me out of the conversation. I felt stupid. Brendon spoke to me but I had nothing to say, I didn’t understand what they were saying. I just clammed up. It was no better at the café. Michelle froze me out of the conversation. Brendon spoke to me, but again I didn’t understand anything. Michelle kept talking about things I just didn’t know about. Even after going to these courses- the music appreciation group, the reading circle, these things were way above me.
Brendon got up to order more food and tea and coffee. I turned to Michelle. “What’s with you, why did you have to push me over before, why did you butt in here, why did you have to spoil my night, you know Brendon’s my guy”
“Because you’re a wannabe, because you are pretending to be something you are not. You were a factory worker- I got nothing against that. By all accounts you worked hard, you became a supervisor. Well done. You were involved in your union- we might differ on that but i respect your rights – America is a free country. You studied at junior college- that’s good. You got a better job- that’s great. You got a nice man- and yes he is a nice man –that is just wonderful for you. You have made a real difference about the condos. The gardens are much tidier, they look great since you’ve come here. And we all appreciate it. But you are a fake, you pretend you are interested in literature, art, music, and you are not.”
“Hey,” I broke in.
She kept talking as if i had said nothing “I know you’re not interested. If you were truly interested you’d be able to talk to Brendon and me on the same level. Sure you may not know that much but you’d be learning, you might even say you don’t understand and ask. And you know what? If you said that, I’d be happy to help you. “
“Like hell!” I spat.
Again she just kept talking. “I tried, remember I talked to you about Oscar Wilde’s story, I told you about the themes. All you coudld say it was a lovely story. And yes it is. But you don’t know more than that. And that would be fine if you said that was all you wanted to be. But its not, you fake an interest, you pretend you know about culture. And you don’t. You read, you go to music to impress Brendon. That’s it. But you are still the tough bitch who fought for money. Yeah i know about it. You are still the promiscuous slut who fucked around, males and females. Yeah I know about that too. But your secret is safe with me, I wont tell Brendon. He will find out soon enough and then he will dump you because then he will know you are just a wannabe.”
Michelle stopped. I saw my reflection in the wall mirror. I was white. She had just destroyed me. She had said all that my dark self said –and she had said it better. The dark side wouldn’t have been that clever. And she had exposed my deepest fears- forget Brendon being gay, deep down I knew he wasn’t. I’d told my dark side it was wrong, that Brendon was what his friends told me he was, a shy man- i remembered his first phone call when i was on the train, he was so tense, so ready to get off the phone , so uncomfortable.
My real fear was that Brendon would find out about the real me, and be disgusted. No he wasn’t gay, he wasn’t even a wimp, no one who sailed competitively and won like he did was a wimp. He was fit, strong and mentally tough, he had endurance. But unlike Will or any of the other guys I’d ever dated, he was kind and gentle and more than that, he was genuinely a good person. “Which of course” the dark side rejoined, “”you are not!”” And again the dark side was right, and that was why I was shit scared Brendon would find me out.
And as always when I was scared, I got violent. I still –even years later- don’t know why I am like that, its just been part of me for as long as I can remember, and it’s got me into more shit than I can remember. As it did just that night. I grabbed Michelle’s collar- as it was a cold night she wore a dress with a high collar, - I shook her. “All you ever wanted to do was make me feel small, all you ever wanted to do was put me down, to make me the hired help. It’s not going to work. “ I smacked her face.
“So you still have some backbone.” She smiled. “You havent changed, you still know only one way of solving things. Fighting. Stand up, we’ll do this properly-outside in the alley.”
I was so riled, I just knew Michelle had been goading me into fighting. God knows why. I walked to the narrow alley, Brendon followed, I just knew he realised what was happening and just maybe he wanted to be there so he could get all turned on by it. “God,” I whispered, “will I ever understand him?”.
We kicked off our shoes. for a moment we circled, I just knew Michelle expected me to be so mad I’d just lunge at her. She was surprised I didn’t. But I knew better, even when I was angry I knew better, years of fighting had taught me to keep my head. So Michelle taunted me, even then I saved my breath then went in low, crouching, sending punches aimed at her tummy. She scurried back. I kept the pressure on, kicking at her mid section, again she retreated and avoided me. But she was running out of room. My next blow hit her just above her kidney area, not as hard as I had hoped- she dodged to the side. First strike to me.
I followed her as she tried to buy some room, I kept hammering at her, varying my aim anywhere between her shoulders and her belly. Michelle parried some, dodged others, but still enough were getting through to cause damage and by the end of the first minute she hadn’t landed a punch on me. She was too busy defending. I knew, I just knew I was forcing her into a corner, I was going to pound her. I knew I'd not lost my skill.
I closed on her, trying to body slam her against the alley wall then pin her there. Instead she dodged, I turned just in time to avoid hitting the wall myself but not in time to avoid her kick to my belly. I groaned with pain, stumbled back and now I was defending. I parried her punch aimed at my head, sidestepped , not quite avoiding her other fist- it hit my side. I stepped further to the side , countering with a hard punch aimed at her rack. It hit, it was a big target. Michelle grunted, she fired a few more punches most of which I avoided.
For perhaps another minute we circled, trading punches, neither gaining an advantage. “You low life bictch, all you know is fighting.” she hissed.
My anger flared again, this bitch had humilated me, I surged in, Michelle dodged, she swung her knee up trying to catch my belly. I avoided it but she caught me in a headlock. She squeezed, my head felt it was being crushed, she slammed me agasint the wall, I just knew she tried to bang my head into it, I swung so my butt and side hit, it hurt , it hurt so much, but at least I was still concious. I punched at her gut, she grunted, I punched again and squirmed, wriggling my head. Did her grasp weaken?
I felt her trying to swing me around again, to slam me into the wall once more. I shoved hard, putting my weight into it, punching at her belly as well. Her own momentum carried her into the wall, her arm and my shoulder hit almost together. She yelped, I think her elbow hit the hardest, I broke free, retreated, ready to defend, breathing hard.
Michelle attacked, punching hard at my upper body and face, I parried a few blows but others sank home. I had to retaliate or her longer reach would do for me. I ducked, bending at my knees and closed. She seemed surprised, I slammed solid punches into her midriff. She groaned, she parried my next attack, sh countered with sparring jabs some of which I blocked but too many broke through , she made me keep my distance, letting her recover. The old hag could fight!
I knew I had to close on her. This time I kept half crouched, my body offering the smallest possible target, using her height advantage against her, I peppered her with swift short jabs, she retreated, I closed, she tried to catch me in a headlock. I slipped out of her clutches, sending another punch at her boobs. Such a good target! She countered with blows to my head. They didn’t hurt too much, I had a thick skull. I punched again, and again. She groaned and retreated each time. I was winning, she had no more room to go. I had her against the alley wall. She kicked out, hitting my thigh. I groaned but didnt stop the assault. She grabbed a fistful of my hair , trying to slam my head against the wall. It almost worked, I had to grab her sides to stop her push. She shoved sideways this time. We fell together my head underneath her shoulder. My head hit the hard pavement, I was dazed,
Michelle cried out, she grabbed at my head with her left hand. I saw her right elbow was bleeding, she had clearly hurt it! But that didn’t seem to slow her much. She pulled my head up, and slammed it back into the pavement. I clawed at her throat. She hissed in pain, she let go. I shoved at her side, I rolled, she rolled with me. Now we were side on. I pushed her away and got to my feet. She surged in, I landed a hard punch on her boobs, checking her totally. I followed with a second punch, it just missed her head. She stepped back, her arms up defensively. I tried to close, she rammed a right hand punch to my head, I blocked it but she sent her left fist jabbing at my upper tummy. I sidestepped, her punch hit my ribs. Again I tried to close, again she kept me off with jabbing punches; I blocked or dodged more than half but those that got through damaged me. I was wheezing, gasping, hurting. I just knew I was slowing up, that I had to break through or Michelle would wear me out then finish me off; I just knew to do that I had to close on her, but how the hell could I do that?
“Just charge Jenn girl” I told myself and raced in. Michelle couldn’t get out of the way fast enough, the wall was behind her and to one side – yes she was in a corner of the alleyway. I got in a few hard blows, she gasped as I slammed a punch to her side, again when I hit her boobs and yet again when I hit her belly. She groaned when I slammed my knee into her gut. She came forward, punching, her blows had lost a lot of their sting. I tried to force her back, I knew I had been winning when I had pinned her into that corner, but she dodged to the side. Now I had to backpeddle if I wanted to manouvere her back into that corner. And that allowed her to exploit her height and reach advantage again. I cursed, Michelle was keeping me at bay while she recovered. I closed, forgetting that I wanted to block her in, I just knew I had to inflict pain on her. I slammed my fists into her body, the first time successfully, the second time, just thin air, she had escaped again. She was so much more nimble, so much faster than I; what business I asked myself did this old hag have in being so light footed?
But she was, and she continued to dodge, weave and duck and so avoid my attack. Sure I got a few punches in, but she landed more, I couldn’t move as fast as she did. I had to break her somehow. I was too preoccupied with fruitless ideas on how to do that to realize the bitch was backing me into the same corner she had just escaped from till my back hit the wall. She cackled and renewed her attack, hitting me hard, bringing her knee up into my gut. I almost barfed. I did double up. She grabbed my head, I just knew what was coming, she was going to slam my face into her knee. I grabbed her leg, pushing it to the side. She stepped back but before I could stand property , she had slammed her clenched together fists into the back of my neck. I groaned, I almost dropped to my knees.
She cackled, “That’s right, you belong at my feet!”She grabbed my shoulders, she tried to force me down. That was her mistake. She should have known I was pretty strong from all the gardening work she had seen me do- she did know, she’d admitted it. But she’d forgotten it. She strained, trying to push me to my knees. She couldn’t quite manage it. And then she could; she cackled again. “Kneel to your betters.”
Suddenly Riley found herself all but flying backwards, she hit the wall hard. The only reason she had been able to push me to my knees was I let her. I’d outsmarted her by dropping to my knees; I grabbed her waist and then sprung forward, slamming my head into her tummy, tackling her. As she hit the wall I got to my feet. I waded in with a few short hard jabs to her boobs and her tummy. At each punch she groaned, she tried to defend but with little success. She was breathless, hitting the wall had knocked the air from her lungs.
I paused, I too needed to recover, I too was all but breathless. We stood, staring at each other for a long moment. I attacked again, again I slammed punches in, she punched back, she tried to defend. Standing this close together we were just slugging it out. It was endurance and strength and I just knew I had more of that than she did. Riley gasped, she groaned, she faltered, she staggered. She broke away.
I followed, trying to pound her, she wasn’t moving fast anymore, I just knew I was wearing her down. I sent punch after punch into her body, aiming mainly at her boobs and her upper tummy. She tried to defend, she failed. I raised my knee, driving it into her lower tummy. She gasped again, she crumpled, she almost fell. “Yes! You arrogant bitch!” I hissed.
She dodged my next attack- I lunged, trying to grab her, I so wanted to drag her down. Instead my shoulder hit the wall. Riley didn’t counter attack, no the bitch was too far gone. I followed her as she retreated, I kept hitting at her right hand side, not too hard- my shoulder hurt and I needed to recover, but hard enough and sure enough she edged to the left. Too late she realized she was against the wall again Again I’d outsmarted her! I just had to stand there and keep pounding her. She’d collapse in a few moments.
Riley must have seen what I intended, she pushed forward, trying to break free. Instead I grabbed hold of her, I slipped my leg behind hers and bodyslammed her. She went down hard, pulling me down too. But I was on top. We rolled around for a moment, trading punches and ineffective kicks, its hard to kick properly when your enemy is right next to you and you’re both on the ground. I changed my tack, I opened my legs a little sliding my lower leg under her body. I grabbed her top, pulling her towards me and she was trapped in a scissors.
I squeezed, crushing the air from her, she whimpered. I just knew I had her ! “Fuck you slut!”she hissed, panting between words. I tightened my grip.
And then her head jerked forward, my nose burst into blood, I rolled away holding my face. The bitch had head butted me. I thought my nose was broken. Riley got up. I tried to get up, I don't know why, I'd had it, I knew I couldn't keep fighting. My dark side told me I was too stupid to surrender. I just knew it was right. I half got to my knees. I was whoosy, Riley came forward. I muttered defiance.
“Give in.” she hissed, “you fought hard, you nearly had me but I've won” She stretched out her hand ,she was trying to help me up.
The dark side told me she was right, and that she was even being magnanimous.
“Fuck you Riley” I couldn't help myself, no not even when I'd done the same to girls I'd defeated, I knew she wanted peace, even friendship, and I just knew I'd made her furious again.|.
She glared at me and kicked my cunt. I cried –yes I – Jenn Pëccavi wept in pain.
Through my tears I hissed..'You're a dirty fighter, you're worse than I am, you stuck up bitch, no matter what you think!'
She kicked me again, I slumped to the floor whimpering in pain. But what was worse, she had humilated me in front of Brendon, mentally and physically. What would Brendon think? What would he do? And what would she say to Brendon? She kicked me again.
The next thing I remember was Brendon cradling my head in one arm as he wiped the blood from my face with a handkerchief “She’s gone Jenn.” He helped me stand, he found my shoes, together –he holding me up – we walked to the street.
I wondered how much Brendon saw, I just didn't know, I wanted to tell him I'd been winning till Riley got in a lucky shot when she butted my nose. I tried but I was too groggy to say anything properly
I lent against Brendon, my nose still bleeding. I was sobbing with pain and humilation. “What” I wondered “would happen when I saw Riley next, could I still live in the complex? Why had she left, she had won?”
My dark side told me that if I'd won like that, I'd have fucked the losing bitch's guy, or at least given him a blow job, right there while the loser lay in pain. And it was right, I would have. So why had Riley left?
Brendon held me, he helped me into the cab and got it in himself. He gave the driver my address. He held my hand silently, just stroking it.
Perhaps the dark side and Riley were wrong, perhaps Brendon did know what I was like before, perhaps he didn't care. Perhaps the reason Riley had gone was because she knew Brendon wouldn't fuck her, that he just wasn't like the guys I'd known before, that perhaps he even loved me.
“In your dreams” hissed the dark side.